If Boehner’s solo gamble fails, Senate Democrats will have the one plan left in the procedural pipeline. If Boehner’s plan passes, they will have enough time to call it to the floor, show that it doesn’t have the votes in the Senate and hash out a compromise before the Treasury Department’s Aug. 2 deadline.
“I think it will be demonstrated clearly at the end of the week that the Boehner approach is not going to pass the Senate,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said Monday.
When asked whether either one of the bills needed to fail in order to proceed with a deal that could be sent to the president’s desk, the Illinois Democrat said: “No, we’re going to pass ours. That’s our goal.
“I continue to believe that there are Senate Republicans who are looking for an honest solution,” he said, adding he could not say the same for the House GOP.
But tea party-backed Members aren’t the only lawmakers poised to make passing a debt ceiling increase difficult. Senate conservatives can cause just as much trouble, if not more, given the rules of the chamber.
Any one Senator can hold up legislation, and staging a filibuster is “one possibility” and “something that’s come up in conversation and is being considered,” a GOP aide to a conservative Senator said. But the aide added, “Considering things are so liquid now, until there’s more hard information, I don’t think it’s fair to speak to whatever the tactics will be.”
A spokesman for McConnell would not say whether the leader was explicitly doing outreach to discourage Members from filibustering on the brink of the default deadline, only saying that the Kentucky Republican has had “several meetings with Members.”
Senators such as Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) already have indicated their displeasure not just with Reid’s plan, but also with Boehner’s.
“The proposed deals being discussed today by House Republican and Senate Democrat Leaders do not make cuts to our debt. They do not solve our debt problems. They do not balance the budget, ever,” Paul said in a statement Monday. “I cannot and will not support any deal that does not have as its end goal a balanced budget. Promises and commissions will not satisfy that goal.”
House Republicans released a package that would immediately raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion in exchange for $1.2 trillion in cuts, even though Obama has said he would not support a plan that does not extend the limit through 2013. Senate Democrats introduced a plan with $2.7 trillion in savings, no revenues and no entitlement reform, with administration backing.
The main sticking point that tanked the weekend talks, and the Democrats’ continued point of contention with the plan Boehner released Monday, is the short-term nature of the original debt limit increase. Republicans have accused Democrats of playing politics with the timeline, while Democrats say they don’t want to repeat this struggle in six months.
“Time is running out. And with all due respect to the president, we have more important things to worry about than getting through the next election,” McConnell said.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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